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Although the state of Colorado has made it legal for adults to possess one ounce or less of marijuana, the individual cities and counties in Colorado are not so keen on following suit. Erie, Lafayette, Superior and Broomfield are all in the process of constructing their own individual laws regarding the drug. Currently, the town of Erie disallows medical marijuana dispensaries in town and officials for Erie, Superior and Lafayette are planning to prepare an ordinance banning retail marijuana stores within town limits. The city of Broomfield plans to vote January 22nd on a first reading of an ordinance temporarily banning marijuana related businesses through 2014 and as of this time, medical marijuana businesses are not allowed within the city limits. Although President Obama stated that the federal government would not be prosecuting individuals in Colorado who are found to possess one ounce or less, law enforcement will still be on the lookout for those driving under the influence.
When Colorado passed its first medical marijuana laws in November 2000, law enforcement officials saw a rise in the number of impaired drivers. Now with the passing of Amendment 64, officials are expecting the number of impaired drivers to increase even more. Driving under the influence of marijuana can cause dizziness, slowed reaction time and drivers are more inclined to drift and swerve, making it dangerous to be on the road. As of yet, there has been no consensus about the standard rate of THC impairment, which means that the development of a roadside test much like they do for alcohol has not yet been successfully integrated. Different states have different laws when it comes to acceptable limits of THC. Although five nanograms seems to be the standard, lawmakers in Colorado have tried and failed three times to set a THC driving limit owing mainly to the fact that the Colorado legalization measure didn’t set a standard when written. Lawmakers in Colorado are prepared to reconvene on the issue in the coming year as the availability of the drug increases in the state.
The University of Colorado in Boulder has long been the site of one of the largest Colorado Marijuana rallies the state has known, but this year officials at the school are making plans to put a lid on the activities. The passing of Amendment 64 legalizing marijuana in Colorado has added fuel to a fire that officials have been battling for many years and the they fear the disruption to the school will be increasingly worse as time goes on. CU officials feel that the 4/20 smokeout sends a very bad message to young potential students that CU is not a place of research and learning, but a place to have unlimited access to drugs. Officials do not want the image of the school to be one that condones drug use. Instead, they would like for students researching colleges to consider CU as a place of good value, strong academics and a home to Nobel-prize winning scientists. Last year’s smokeout brought roughly 12,000 people, which created an enormous disruption to campus procedures. With this in mind, CU is planning to once again close the campus to visitors as well as shut down the Norlin quad, which is where the rally is normally staged.
Although Colorado recently passed a bill to make marijuana possession legal to adults in small quantities, setting rules and regulations for the substance moving forward will be no easy task. Most lawmakers are estimating that depending on how the federal government will approach the new state law, it could take until July 1, 2013 to even adopt new regulations for marijuana stores and these new stores wouldn’t be looking at opening until January of 2014. Considering that it took a full year for departments to write and implement new procedures for medical marijuana in Colorado, it is a safe bet that the new marijuana store process will take at least that long. The goal for state lawmakers is to construct a set of rules and regulations that will be the least offensive to the federal government as possible in order to avoid a federal crackdown.
Recently, heads of the United Nations Drug Watchdog Agency expressed concern over the passing of the recent Washington and Colorado marijuana laws which decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults 21 and over. The U.N. heads are urging federal officials in the U.S. to challenge the recent ballot measure, as they feel this measure sends out a very bad message to both other states in the U.S. as well as to other countries abroad, giving the impression that marijuana possession is acceptable in the U.S. A recent statement by Raymond Yans, the head of the International Narcotics Control Board, to the Associated Press, expr4essed hopes that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will take the necessary measures to ensure that marijuana possession and use continues to remain illegal throughout the U.S. Until officials come to a decision, both Washington and Colorado are holding off on regulating and taxing the drug pending word as to whether the Justice Department will assert federal authority over the recently passed drug laws.